This two-week adventure kicks off in Barcelona where you'll explore fascinating art and culture, including Gaudí's UNESCO-listed landmarks. Then drive north to the Costa Brava—a 125-mile (200 km) stretch of pine trees, golden beaches, and crystal clear water—for a blissful week on the Mediterranean. Finish in Vic for medieval villages and hiking trails before returning to Barcelona for one more night on the town.

Highlights

  • Get the ultimate introduction to Barcelona during a private walking tour
  • Take a day-trip to a mountainous monastery and boutique winery in Monserrat
  • Kayak in bright turquoise water with free time for swimming and snorkeling
  • Go hiking near the medieval town of Rupit followed by a three-course lunch
  • Visit a museum dedicated to the artist Salvador Dalí in his hometown of Figueres

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Barcelona Barcelona
Day 2 Private Tour of Barcelona & La Sagrada Familia Barcelona
Day 3 Private Tour of Park Güell & the Picasso Museum Barcelona
Day 4 Monserrat & Winery Day-Trip Barcelona
Day 5 Pick-Up Rental Car - Drive to Begur Begur
Day 6 Day-Trip to Girona Begur
Day 7 Bike Tour of the Baix Empordá Begur
Day 8 Private Kayaking Excursion Begur
Day 9 Wine Tasting in the Empordà Region Begur
Day 10 Costa Brava Free Day Begur
Day 11 Day-Trip to Rupit Vic
Day 12 Explore the Pre-Pyrenees Medieval Villages Vic
Day 13 Drive from Vic to Barcelona Barcelona
Day 14 Depart Barcelona  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Barcelona

Observation deck at Park Guell
An observation deck at Park Guell

Welcome to Barcelona! Upon arrival at either the airport or train station, you'll be greeted by a private driver who will transfer you to your hotel in the city center. Take some time to settle in and get your bearings before heading out to explore this beautiful and inexhaustible city. 

You'll have many options on what to see and do on your first day—and plenty of company. The cosmopolitan and bustling heart of Spain's Catalonia region is popular with domestic and international travelers all year round. With fantastic art and architecture, rich medieval history, clean urban beaches, world-class nightlife, and great shopping you'll be spoiled for choice.

A good place to start is by taking a stroll down La Ramblas, a sequence of promenades that runs from Plaça de Catalunya down to the waterfront. Near the opera house is the vibrant public market called La Boquería, which dates back to 1217 for the ultimate foodie pilgrimage. Centuries later, this is still considered one of Europe's best food markets and provides a great introduction to Catalan cuisine.

Day 2: Private Tour of Barcelona & La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia

After breakfast, you'll start your day with a private guided walking tour of Barcelona, which includes its greatest monument, La Sagrada Familia, a spectacular Roman Catholic church and UNESCO World Heritage Site designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. During this half-day excursion, you will see some of the city's most emblematic spots and hidden corners while learning about Gaudí and his jaw-dropping masterpiece, which is still under construction.

Your guide will be on hand to answer all your questions including where to go for lunch! In fact, he or she will take you to a recommended tapas bar or restaurant before parting ways leaving you to enjoy the afternoon exploring Barcelona at your own pace.

Day 3: Private Tour of Park Güell & the Picasso Museum

The famous park designed by Antoni Gaudi
The famous park designed by Antoni Gaudi

Today you'll meet your private guide in the hotel lobby who will lead you to the Park Güell, one of the largest public green spaces in Barcelona—and one of the most impressive parks in the world—with countless examples of Gaudi's genius touches in its design and creation. Follow your guide on foot as you experience the best, oldest, and most interesting parts of the park! 

Then return to the central El Börn district to discover the creative genius of another prized master—this time the artist Pablo Picasso—at the museum dedicated to his life's work. Your guide will be on hand to answer all your questions before taking you to a recommended tapas bar or restaurant in the city center. From here, spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the city at your own leisure.

Day 4: Monserrat & Winery Day-Trip

Montserrat Monastery
Montserrat Monastery

After breakfast in Barcelona, you'll meet your guide for a trip to the Catalan countryside starting with a visit to the impressive Monastery of Montserrat with its commanding views. The monastery is notable not only for its stunning mountainous setting but also for enshrining the image of the Virgin of Montserrat. Founded in the 11th century, it still functions to this day with over 70 monks in residence.

You'll also have the chance to listen to a boys choir, visit the Moreneta de Montserrat, and take a light walk to Santa Cova where the black Madonna is said to have originally been found and rescued.

From here, you'll depart Montserrat and enjoy a fantastic lunch of rural Catalan cuisine in a traditional restaurant followed by a guided tour of one of the region's premier boutique wineries. There will be a chance to taste some of their wines and cavas before returning to Barcelona in the late afternoon.

Day 5: Pick-Up Rental Car - Drive to Begur

Begur's hillside setting
Begur's hillside setting

This morning, you'll meet a driver in your hotel lobby and transfer to Barcelona train station. This is where you'll pick up your rental car and begin the drive north towards the Costa Brava—a beautiful stretch of Mediterranean coastline running just north of Barcelona all the way to the border of France. 

You'll first make your way to the city of Begur, where you'll check into your accommodations and settle in before enjoying the spectacular views and rural way of life. This pretty town an hour north of Barcelona offers fantastic restaurants and boutique hotels. In the last decade, the town has become popular with Barcelonians who have stylish holiday homes here. 

If you are anxious to get out and explore, there are plenty of beaches along the 133-mile (214-km) stretch of coastline, and even in the height of summer, you can often find a secluded sandy cove all to yourself. For something close to Begur, try Platja Fonda—a small cove and swimming spot known for its clear blue water and relaxed atmosphere.

You could also drive a short distance south to the coastal town of Palafrugell to visit the Cap Roig Botanical Gardens, which are considered to be among some of the best in the Mediterranean. Terraced gardens cascade from the hilltop castle right down to the beach and feature plants from around the world as well as sculptures by international artists.

Day 6: Day-Trip to Girona

Tower of San Pere de Galligants with the Girona Cathedral
Tower of San Pere de Galligants with the Girona Cathedral

Today, you'll meet your guide for the journey to Girona where you'll explore the colorful history and medieval architecture by taking a stroll through the town's walkable old quarter filled with winding, cobbled streets, medieval architecture, and pretty gardens.  Along the way, you'll visit Girona's stunning Gothic cathedral and the Jewish heritage center of Bonastruc Sa Porta.

As a former home to Greeks, Romans, Visigoths, and Franks, Girona has stood the test of time via countless attacks by armies from near and far, which you can discuss with your guide. The local Catalans who live here have tastefully respected the town's unique history in carrying out the artistic, architectural and cultural traditions since its founding nearly 2000 years ago.

Day 7: Bike Tour of the Baix Empordá

Discover the Catalan countryside with minimal effort on your e-bike!
Discover the Catalan countryside with minimal effort on your e-bike!

Today, after breakfast in Begur, your driver will pick you up for the short transfer to meet your guide in the heart of the Costa Brava. Upon arrival in Gualta—a small village in Baix Empordà—you'll get an introduction to your e-bike, and then begin an 'electric' ride through the region's breathtaking scenery while barely breaking a sweat.

The 18-mile (29 km) itinerary passes through several medieval villages, among the most representative of Baix Empordá. Most of the route passes along rural trails and farmlands and the terrain is mostly flat and undulating and, therefore, suitable for all levels. There will be plenty of time to stop for photographs and your guide will share local history along the way.

In the afternoon, you'll finish the trip with a ride back to Gualta through flower-filled fields and villages. Say farewell to your guide, and then transfer back to your accommodations in Begur to enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.

Day 8: Private Kayaking Excursion

Kayaking adventure up the coast
Kayaking adventure up the coast

Today, you'll get to discover the stunning coastline of the Costa Brava through its hidden coves, caves, and headlands on a fun kayaking tour with a private guide!

During this half-day excursion, you'll visit idyllic corners of the coastline only accessible from the sea with your expert guide who will show you a trick or two in your kayak. The excursion can be adapted to your fitness level and preferred distance, and all equipment is included. 

At the end of the tour, you'll have the rest of the day to spend at leisure, perhaps heading to a pretty beach like Calella de Palafrugell.

Day 9: Wine Tasting in the Empordà Region

Many of the region's vineyards come with Mediterranean views
Many of the region's vineyards come with Mediterranean views

After breakfast in Begur, you'll be picked up for a fun and in-depth visit to a small local wine producer in the Costa Brava's Empordà region, which stretches from the town of Figueres in Catalonia, all the way to the French border. Historians say that vineyards have been in this area since the 5th century BC. Though it's not as big as other wine regions in Spain, Empordà is known to produce delicious wines, like White Grenache, Tempranillo, Macabeu, and Syrah, at terrific prices.

This 5-hour excursion includes private transport and a stop for lunch in a nearby town before you return to your hotel in Begur in the afternoon where you'll have free time to relax and, if you so choose, head to the beach and go for a refreshing swim before dinner.

Day 10: Costa Brava Free Day

Stop by the town of Llafranc for lunch and a swim
Stop by the town of Llafranc for lunch and a swim

Today you'll have a full day to explore the Costa Brava any way you'd like! This Catalan area along the Mediterranean stretches from the French border down to the province of Barcelona and is renowned for its stunning villages and rugged coastline with countless coves, ports, and beaches offering a range of cultural and leisure activities. Not only is there plenty to see along the shore, but the Costa Brava also encompasses some beautiful interior villages and attractions, too. 

You can create your own itinerary or sign up for a range of guided excursions and/or activities. There's the medieval town of Besalú, the beautiful hilltop town of Begur with its castle, and the artsy white-washed town of Cadaqués. Also worth considering are the coastal villages of Calella de Palafrugell and Llafranc where you can stop for lunch in a beachside bar and take in the views of the quaint ports and quintessentially Spanish squares. 

The Costa Brava is also home to some of the country’s best (albeit smaller) beaches, often hidden by soaring clifftops and unusual rock formations. Many of these can only be reached on foot making the journey part of the fun, and you'll be rewarded by turquoise blue water with lapping waves.

Day 11: Day-Trip to Rupit

Rupit is surrounded by scenic nature
Rupit is surrounded by scenic nature

Today you'll take a day-trip excursion inland through the towns and villages surrounding Girona as you head into the Pre-Pyrenees (the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains) and its fabulous scenery. En route, you can stop by a water park for a refreshing dip!

Upon arrival in Rupit, you'll have the day to explore this rustic, medieval town, which is perched on a hilly lookout point. The architecture dates back to the 16th and 17th centuries with houses and streets made from stone as well as pretty gardens and vegetation for photographing. Look for the rock wall that surrounds the village made from rock called "Rupes" in Latin, hence the name Rupit. 

Those who aren't afraid of heights can cross the hanging suspension bridge in town made of wood, making it popular with visitors. Active travelers will have additional routes for trekking, cycling, and horseback riding in the surrounding mountains. For a half-day route, you can hike the GR-2 trail to Tavertet where you'll pass through woods and rivers to experience natural Catalan scenery—bring a picnic and have lunch along the way.

At the end of the afternoon, you'll make the return drive to Vic for the night. 

Day 12: Explore the Pre-Pyrenees Medieval Villages

Foothills of the Salt de Sallent
Foothills of the Salt de Sallent

Today is a free day to explore the charming and scenic Pre-Pyrenees route any way you'd like. This mountainous area not only offers a range of canyons, gorges, and rivers for outdoor activities, but also medieval towns, Romanesque churches, and towers to check out—in other words, you'll have plenty of options to choose from. 

A few notable attractions include the Natural Park of the Mountains and Canyons of Guara with more than seventy different river gorges, as well as the UNESCO-listed River Vero Cultural Park, which is famous for its rock art. 

Other ideas include:

  • Shopping for souvenirs in local markets
  • Sampling local delicacies and delights in various villages 
  • Hiking, biking, or canyoning in the mountains
  • Taking a tree-tops high ropes course

Day 13: Drive from Vic to Barcelona

Take a stroll when you get back to Barcelona
Take a stroll when you get back to Barcelona

Today, you'll depart the tranquil, medieval villages of the Pre-Pyrenees and make the return drive to the bustling city of Barcelona. This is your final night in Spain so make sure to take advantage of anything you may have missed in the city earlier in the trip! 

Day 14: Depart Barcelona

Goodbye, Barcelona!
Goodbye, Barcelona!

It's time to say farewell to Barcelona! Depending on the time of your flight or train reservation, squeeze in one more walk through the city, perhaps picking up some last-minute souvenirs. At the designated time you will be picked up at your hotel and transferred to the airport or rail station for your departure onwards. Safe travels!

Map

Map of Barcelona & the Costa Brava - 14 Days
Map of Barcelona & the Costa Brava - 14 Days